What a difference a year makes as Newcastle deal is complete

When a 34 year old Sol Campbell signed a five-year deal with then  League Two side Notts County twelve months ago, nobody would have been ridiculed for claiming the former England centre half had had his day.

After playing just one game for County – an away defeat at Morecambe the defender left by mutual consent.

The move was a statement of intent from Notts County’s consortium which they hoped would attract other players of a similar calibre to the club for promotion but Campbell grew dismayed about the lack of investment which was promised at Meadow Lane from secretive owners Munto Finance. Unconvinced by the clubs long-term aims, after just 29 days with them he left due to a lack of faith leaving himself and everyone else wondering where next for the man with two Premier League titles and four FA Cups during his career.

This however was before Arsene Wenger offered him a chance to rehabilitate his career at Arsenal.

Campbell appeared 14 times for Arsenal scoring his first goal in his second stint at the club with a headed goal against Porto in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 and it was here that he put himself back on the market due to injuries to Thomas Vermaelen and William Gallas towards the end of the season.

Despite being offered a new deal by Arsenal, his move to Newcastle was finally completed after numerous top-flight clubs were vying for a signature which would bring experience, quality, and leadership to any defence. For Campbell the huge transition from “washed up League Two footballer” to a player that has every chance of disdaining those who criticised him.

It comes as a welcome relief to Chris Hughton who will be without Steven Taylor for the start of the season due to a shoulder injury and the increased likelihood of first-team football may also have been pivotal in Campbell’s decision.

His importance to Newcastle is immeasurable considering his substantial pedigree, not only in terms of leadership but also with regards to having an experienced head around the dressing room in order to help guide other additions such as James Perch through his Premier League berth.

Newcastle begin at Manchester United on the 16th August and in the absence of Taylor, Campbell’s Premier League know how will be vital at Old Trafford.

Campbell said: “At this stage of my career I couldn’t have wished for a better move. To join a club such as Newcastle United, with its proud tradition, heritage and magnificent support, is absolutely tremendous for me.

“I’d like to thank Chris Hughton for putting his faith in me and aim to repay him and the supporters by giving everything I possibly can to help re-establish this great club in the top tier of English football.” (Sun)

The move follows what is undoubtedly the most turbulent seasons of Campbell’s career and this may well prove to be the right Magpies move for him working under Chris Hughton who knows all about the defender from their time together at Tottenham.

Whatever path Campbell’s career may follow, he is evidently relishing another crack at the Premier League and has come a long way since his departure from Notts County. His importance to Newcastle is immeasurable considering his substantial pedigree, not only in terms of leadership but also with regards to having an experienced head around the dressing room in order to help guide other additions such as James Perch through his Premier League berth.
Newcastle begin at Manchester United on the 16th August and in the absence of Taylor, Campbell’s Premier League know how will be vital at Old Trafford.

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